0

Pitt hangs on, beats Xavier on Fields' late baskets

Levance Fields gave Pittsburgh the lead with a 3-pointer with 50.9 seconds left, then scored off his steal as the Panthers advanced to the regional finals for the first time in 35 years with a 60-55 win over Xavier on Thursday night.

Top-seeded Pitt (31-4) trailed 54-52 before its point guard connected. Then he poked the ball away from B.J. Raymond and went in for the layup with 23.9 seconds to go.

Sam Young led Pitt with 19 points, Fields had 14, and DeJuan Blair had 10 points and 17 rebounds in the East semifinal victory. The Panthers overcame an eight-point halftime deficit.

The last time Pitt was in a regional final was in 1974 when it lost to eventual national champion North Carolina State and star David Thompson 100-72.

Fourth-seeded Xavier (27-8) was led by Raymond with 15 points and Derrick Brown with 14.

Pitt plays Saturday against the winner of Thursday night's second semifinal between Duke and Villanova for a berth in the Final Four.

Panthers coach Jamie Dixon made it to the round of eight for the first time in his six years at the helm after losing in his other two trips to the round of 16. Xavier fell short in its bid for a third berth in the regional finals in six years.

Trailing 37-29 at halftime, Pitt scored the first nine points of the second half - and Xavier missed its first 10 shots - as the Panthers took a 38-37 lead with 14:33 left.

But the Musketeers recovered and went ahead 54-52 with 1:50 remaining when Dante Jackson cut to the basket for a layup.

Fields then had the ball past midcourt before it went into the backcourt off a defender. Fields retrieved it, dribbled into his own end and fired up the go-ahead shot.

He was in the right place again when Raymond lost control of his dribble. Fields got the ball, pushed it forward and dribbled ahead of the field to put the Panthers up by three.

Xavier's Terrell Holloway made a free throw with 16 seconds left, but Young hit two just three seconds later. After a missed 3-pointer by Brown, Brad Wannamaker made one more free throw for Pitt with 2.6 seconds left.